Where I am from

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 @ %I:%M %p | Life

I had my DNA tested for ancestry analysis. I must admit that I forgot what exactly triggered the decision to have it done other than that I have been interested in it ever since scientists began to use genetic analysis to work out the human tree.

My dad and others in the family have traced our family ancestry in the more traditional way by researching birth records. This traces us (the paternal line at least) back to the Dutch province of Zeeland back to roughly the mid-17th century. When Yvonne was on vacation in Utah she got the family tree from the Mormons which claims us going back to Germany in Roman times. The latter is interesting but as it is unclear where their information comes from (the practice of birth records is not that old unless you’re of blue blood which we aren’t. My dad’s tales of having coffee with the queen notwithstanding) it is hard to draw any firm conclusions from.

In most cases the genetic research uses mitochondrial DNA which is passed down via the X-chromosome. As a private person that analysis is expensive to get done; I am not that curious. After some internet searching I found DNA Tribes (http://dnatribes.com). DNA Tribes uses a different method. They use 15, 21 or 27 (you get to choose how accurate you want to get and how much you want to spend) genetic markers to build a DNA profile. The profile is built up from both the X- and the Y-chromosome. This profile is then compared to populations around the world in two ways to establish how the profile compares to population groups that have stayed mostly in the same geographical region for centuries, and then to the population groups but also including those that have migrated. The first result gives what DNA Tribes calls the Native Population Match, the second is the Global Population Match. DNA Tribes’ descriptions are a bit dense for laymen (I’m going to need my nephew Martijn to explain some of the terminology to me). The way I am interpreting the two sets of results is that the first shows how my profile compares to groups that have been in a region for a long time, the second how it compares to those now living in a region. Together it allows me to draw some conclusions how my ancestors migrated over the course of thousands of years.

Alright, let’s get to the results then. I had two tests done. In addition to the above I also asked DNA Tribes to drill down on Europe. Looking at the results I may have them drill down on the South Asian region but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

wpid-dna-map-2012-06-7-10-55.jpgWhat you see here is that my DNA profile most commonly matches what is now eastern Russia and the Caucasus and then further back the region that is now Pakistan. There is a relatively high match with Venezuela which may mean that a few common ancestors migrated there a long time ago or it can just be coincidence. What is intriguing is the low percentage match with Northern and Western Europe.

wpid-world-chart-2012-06-7-10-55.jpgThis chart shows the numbers behind the map. It shows that the highest match is with the Hazara region in today’s Pakistan. You see two numbers in the chart. The score to the right of the bars is called ‘Match Likelihood Index’. This number locates the ethnic groups and regions where the DNA profile is most common. The other number (in parentheses) is the TribeScore which compares the DNA profile’s MLI score to members of each ethnic group and region. As I said it is a little cryptic.

A conclusion that can be made from this data is that my ancestors appear to have originated in the India and Pakistan region many thousands of years ago and from there over time migrated to The Netherlands where we have been last few centuries via nowadays Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Poland or in other words in a mostly western direction. Curiously enough that could match the Mormon’s record of the Kluyt family in Germany in Roman times.

The Europa test I had done is less interesting other than that it confirms this route. I’m emailing DNA Tribes some questions to confirm my interpretation. Depending on that I may have them test against the Central and South Asia region if there is a likelihood of that turning up further interesting things.



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